Ph.D. student creates new way to treat antibiotic resistance

CCTV News

Ph.D. student creates new way to treat antibiotic resistance

Researchers predict antibiotic-resistant superbugs could kill millions by the middle of the century that if nothing is done to combat them.

That’s why the work of a 25-year old researcher in Australia is gaining global attention. CCTV’S Greg Navarro reports.

Ph.D. student creates new way to treat antibiotic resistance

Ph.D. student creates new way to treat antibiotic resistance

Researchers predict antibiotic-resistant superbugs could kill millions by the middle of the century that if nothing is done to combat them. That's why the work of a 25-year old researcher in Australia is gaining global attention. CCTV'S Greg Navarro reports.

When Shu Lam began her Ph.D. project three and a half years ago, she focused on star polymers which are odd looking molecules.

What the 25-year-old University of Melbourne student found just months later was that these molecules were effective at destroying bacteria that had become resistant to antibiotics.

“They basically create a lot of stress for the bacteria and that triggers a process in the bacteria that causes it to literally commit suicide,” she said.

It is important because antibiotic resistant bacteria cells become superbugs which are increasingly difficult to treat. The rise of superbugs has become such a concern that the United Nations has pledged to tackle they threat they pose. Superbugs kill about 700,000 people around the world each year.

Lam is well on the way to proving those skills may very well solve one of the biggest health problems we face.